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Warmer winter brings early strawberry season

By HILARY LANE

MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) - It is only the beginning of June, but strawberries are already, red, ripe, juicy, and definitely in season.

Typically, the strawberry season begins in mid-June, but experts say the early season has been caused by the 5-day warm spell this past March, where temperatures reached 80 degrees.

"Basically, the strawberries were awoken by warmer temperatures and that's really what happened to them and they were shocked into thinking it was spring in March and got them going early," said Jeff Miller, educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Now, local farmers want residents to come out and pick strawberries before it is too late.

"I think there are plenty of berries, the size is good," said Mike Candella of Candella's in Marcy. "We tried to clean up the fields the best we could with the weeds. I think our big flush of berries will start this weekend and go right through."

Customers gathering strawberries out in the fields seemed very impressed with the crop selection this year.

"They are excellent this year," said Michael Sewanec of Utica. "Very juicy, very large, and actually very sweet."

"My sister told me about Candella's opening last night and I thought, great, we are going to go pick and they are great. They are perfect," said Sally Johnson of Newport.

Strawberry season will end in the beginning of July, then blueberry and raspberries will ripen and be ready for picking.

If you would like to find a U-Pick farm near you, go to www.pickyourown.org/nyup.htm

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